The Classy Vagabond

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I wish I were a hobo.

The term ‘hobo’ often holds a negative connotation nowadays. We all have hoped the stoplight would turn green before that ‘hobo’ comes up to the window for money. However, in the past ‘hobo’ often referred to migratory workers. It referred to a nomadic people who labored when they needed to, devoting sweat, blood, and tears for their livelihood as opposed to bums, begging for money. Many people overly romanticized the concept, picturing the stereotypical hobo catching a train, riding off into the sunset to a new life. I just always admired the freedom to follow your heart wherever it took you.

People often tell me that I must have been a nomadic Native American in my past life. Why? I have a restless soul and always seem to be leaving. Throughout my youth, I randomly disappeared with nothing more than the clothes on my back and the lint in my pockets. I often got out of school or woke up in the morning and just felt the need, the urge, to go and never stop. I biked hours upon end with no destination in mind. Countless nights I just didn’t go home, instead sleeping in the woods, on the dam on the other side of my hometown, or in a park. Sometimes, I even bunked up at a friend’s house if I was feeling social. When I could finally drive, my wandering had a wider range. I’d head south to the shore or west to different cities on a whim.

However, I never strayed more than four hours away from home. Like a puppy on a leash, I needed to run, stretch my legs and race the sky, but the leash was always there to pull me back. There was only so far I could run before I found myself back where I started. My love kept me tethered. Simultaneously a cage and a purpose in life, the family and friends I love gave me reason to return no matter how desperately my heart felt the need to roam. Often they were the reason I wanted to roam, causing enough emotional trauma and drama to  drive anyone across the country. My bipolar mother constantly pulled me back to her craziness, stuffing me through an emotional wood chipper. But every single time, my feelings of responsibility and love overpowered my need to escape.

At age ten, I backpacked from Georgia to Virginia on the Appalachian Trail. That was the closest I have ever come to being free. I woke up every morning and admired my ever-changing environment. Then I packed up and left for the next night’s home. People came and went from my life, some sticking around longer than others, but all leaving lasting memories. I found hikers more interesting as well, displaying their heart on their sleeve instead of conforming to society. We traveled with vegans, crazy ex-firemen who wanted to be on Survivor, college aged students, and grandparents. In our mutual quest to survive, live, and laugh, everyone we stumbled across merged into our family. Life was fuller.

Ever since then I have wanted to turn myself loose, give in to my inner hobo. I wanted to pack up and cut all ties, letting my feet take me where they will. Not completely naive, I intended to work in towns when necessary to fund my wandering, only staying put long enough to stock up and survive. At one point, I thought the perfect compromise would be to become a gear tester for backpacker magazine. In my mind they would provide my gear and all I would have to do is write about it, combining two passions of mine in a financially stable manner. I mean, who wants to be broke when they’re old and can’t work?

Currently, I’m a stereotypical college student, just trying to settle down enough to find a career. I never stay put, constantly traveling to see friends at the drop of a hat, often in the middle of the week. However, I keep my grades up and stay on track. Why? Because I want to be financially stable enough to be there for the ones I love.

Some days it’s hard to stay strong when every fiber of your being is saying “Screw them, you shouldn’t have to deal with this.” For instance this weekend, I was home. That was where the trouble all began. The end result was me crouched on the carpet, picking up broken glass and mopping up the cereal that the bowl originally held. The whole time I had to fight off the dogs who wanted to lick up the shard-laden milk and listen to my mother stand behind me and scream at me. Ironically enough, she was screaming at me for cleaning up her mess. I wasn’t about to leave it for the dogs to cut up their tongues though, so as usual I stayed silent and ignored her. My blatant disregard for her command led her to start smashing more dishes on the ground. Thankfully, this time the dishes were neither smashed on the carpet nor thrown at me.

I wish I were a hobo.

  1. Greetings, This is a well written and lovely post. I also harbor an adventurous spirit and have had a nomadic lifestyle. I have experience with bipolar disorder. Check out my blog and feel free to comment

    • Thank you for taking the time to read. Your blog shows a mature and analytical approach to bipolar disorder. In the face of such overwhelming and erratic emotions, I admire the great strength this proves you possess. I will definitely be keeping an eye on your blog.

  2. Great info and entertainingly written. Keep up the fantastic stuff!

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